This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 14, 2009 10:09 AM. The previous post in this blog was In orbit. The next post in this blog is Justice, bought and paid for?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

What he said

The argument that if newspapers go bust there will be nobody covering city hall is true. It’s also true that corruption will rise, legislation will more easily be captured by vested interests and voter turnout will fall.

Comments (8)

Broadcast media, like television and radio, will still cover city hall; that's hardly nobody, especially in major markets. The linkage between corruption and print coverage also seems speculative. It's anecdotal, but it seems like more scandals, recently, are being discovered by non-traditional media (i.e. "bloggers" in their various forms) than was published by the newspapers in their heyday. In fact, it seems like the newspapers are, in some circumstances, either involved in the scandal or at least turning a blind eye to it.

Newspapers are failing to evolve: many seem focused on the past, where a major market could support multiple dailies, including morning, afternoon and evening papers. The business model for the newspaper was stale with the advent of radio, old with the advent of television, and completely outdated with the advent of internet. The fact its taken this long for the newspaper to discover this news does not bode well for traditional newsprint.

Broadcast media, like television and radio, will still cover city hall; that's hardly nobody, especially in major markets.

If you call that "coverage." Those guys usually wait until somebody else reports something, and then run right over. People won't miss newsprint as much as they will the reporting resources that newspapers used to provide.

We still have newspapers???

News Media's love affair with the professional source creeps me out. For example, Patti Strand of the National Animal Interest Alliance has captured the press when it comes to animal shelters. Also our leaders, such as they are, like Randy Leonard and Ted Wheeler. But check out SourceWatch.com and you'll find NAIA is not an animal welfare group at all, but a front group for animal users. I can't help but think that the decline of newspapers reflects, to some degree, the public's vote of no confidence in press and politician gullibility.

Newspapers aren't perfect either for covering city hall: see Amy Ruiz going to work for Scam Adams. (That is if you can call the Mercury a newspaper lol!)

Considering the source, and considering the number of big newspapers that continue to f****te their local business interests (especially if said interests are big advertisers), that's like arguing that a decrease in dockside prostitutes who rob their johns leads to an increase in wife-beating.

What 'they' showed.

They Sure Showed That Obama, By FRANK RICH, February 14, 2009.

... wasn’t the Obama presidency pronounced dead just days ago?

Overdosing on this culture can be fatal. Because Republicans are isolated ... and believe all the noise in its echo chamber, they are now as out of touch with reality as the “inevitable” Clinton campaign was before it got clobbered in Iowa. The G.O.P. doesn’t recognize that it emerged from the stimulus battle even worse off than when it started. That obliviousness gives the president the opening to win more ambitious policy victories than last week’s. Having checked the box on attempted bipartisanship, Obama can now move in for the kill.

At least some media hands are chagrined. After the stimulus prevailed, Scarborough speculated on MSNBC that “perhaps we’ve overanalyzed it, we don’t know what we’re talking about.”

This G.O.P., a largely white Southern male party with talking points instead of ideas and talking heads instead of leaders ...

In the first four years after F.D.R. took over ... Republicans in Congress fell from 36 to 16 in the Senate and from 117 to 88 in the House. The G.O.P. is so insistent that the New Deal was a mirage it may well have convinced itself that its own sorry record back then didn’t happen either.

What 'they' proved.

Save the News, Not the Newspaper, 'The Liberal Media,' By Eric Alterman, The Nation, February 11, 2009.

Overall circulation, adjusted for population growth, is about half of what it was in 1946 and is declining rapidly.

... the almost universal response to the crisis -- an orgy of downsizing that is destroying the worth of the product whose economic value it seeks to restore -- demonstrates how ill equipped newspaper owners and publishers are to find a way to save themselves.

Yet another potential panacea lies in government funding. If we can bail out banks and auto companies, goes the argument, why not an industry on which the health of democracy depends? And while direct government funding of the press is anathema to all who value free expression, we have the examples not only of the extremely independent-minded BBC and CBC but also an innovative set of steps taken by the French government to shore up that country's newspaper industry, none of which impinge on said industry's ability to write freely about the government.

Oh, say, can we take 10 Billion taxpayer dollars (instead of wasted in 10 days of Saudi-puppet-US LIARS 'war'), and everyone can see a 'free' newspaper on the doorstep. Every day.

And while we own the newspapers, (for $20 Billion more we can own radio and TV, also -- no commercials no more), we can have voting rights on the Board, oversight of the books, and 'public access' with reporting true News.

It seems silly to me to delegate important functions like investigative journalism and political coverage to newspapers. They are a for-profit entity with a built-in conflict of interest: the Chinese wall between advertising and editorial. Politics is a tiny fraction of their actual coverage anyway. In addition, they spend a large fraction of their money on dead trees and ink to the detriment of our environment.

Newspapers are better than nothing, but we have better options now. Nonprofits would make better use of the money and have a better alignment with their mission.

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